Flat Stanley - Of Secrets and Wine

2006-03-29 19:54

FlatStanley might not make the most striking music, but they're a slick act. They have wonderful silvery white album packaging, a flashy website, and girls in bikinis who hang around at their gigs, handing out FlatStanley key rings and making them look almost like real rock stars.

The band isn't bad either. Well-balanced production by Theo Crous (of Springbok Nude Girls, and more recently Kobus!), and reliable arrangements compliment the seriously pretty lead guitar work by Neil Potgieter. The songs themselves, though unlikely to stick in your head, aren't too bad and "Treading air" is a decent radio track.

The problem, though, is that the lead singer, Andrew Mac, wastes his great tone and vocal range by singing incredibly badly. Perhaps he doesn't understand that Voice is a musical instrument like any other, and needs to be played well and practised. It's not enough to be talented (which he is), you also have to work at it. Mac has an unfortunate tendency to lazily imitate the worst pop-rock and pop cliches. He overdoes it a bit too.

His worst vocal mannerism is one you've probably seen Idols contestants fall prey to... he makes this grunting noise at the many supposedly emotional points in every song. Instead of evoking the intended earnest emotion, Andrew just sounds like a large penguin suffering from severe indigestion. So on "Truly loving you" 'winter comes calling/mercury falling' becomes 'w(grunt)er comes calling/m(grunt)rcury falling'. And he does it over and over again, until you eventually take the CD out of the CD player, thinking "Damn, I must get that thing cleaned sometime..." Isn't it the producer's job to tell a band about something like this? It ruins many of the otherwise decent ballads on the album.

FlatStanley have the image thing down. They've got the packaging, and the publicity machine behind them in the form of uber-cool sponsor Levi's.

But no matter how many hot chicks hang around half naked at their gigs, they'll have to sort out the irritating singing, or they'll remain just another average white SA rock band.

- Jean Barker

They're the latest up and coming white boy rock band from SA. Their single Treading Air is playlisted on 5fm. All set for the top?

Tanya 2004/11/01 1:29 PM
FLAT STANLEY...'Of Secrets And Wine' It's a good thing that 'taste' is a matter of opinion...and opinions do differ!!!!!!!!! It's sad to read a reveiw written in such bad taste. I LOVE 'FLAT STANELY', and have not tired of the cd which I listen to on a daily basis.
JJ 2004/11/02 4:56 PM
FLAT STANLEY It’s a shame that an Editor reviews a title and passes a couple of personal remarks towards an artist. Jean, it seems like you need to grow up and research the true meaning of Objectivism.
Mike 2005/01/29 11:32 PM
FLAT STANLEY 8 weeks at the top of the 5fm, Ofm & campus radio charts. Playlisted on high rotation on just about every major radio station nationwide. One can't open a newspaper or magazine at the moment without reading a glowing feature on the band, and good luck finding a copy of the album on the shelves...they sell out within days of arriving! Me thinks u got this one horribly wrong Jean... FLATSTANLEY "Of secrets & wine" or Maroon 5
Jean 2005/01/31 9:59 AM
Flat Stanley Na, I don't think I did get it wrong. I listened to the CD six or seven times. Perhaps the "personal" remarks are a comment on the sexist marketing campaign, which is fair game, since it's a public campaign. If a band wants to be in the public eye, they should take criticism as well as praise. And being playlisted or in magazines doesn't mean you're good. If it does, explain Usher. Explain most of the rubbish that gets more attention on radio than the really good music out there. Being popular doesn't make you talented, necessarily, and visa versa. Good taste is rare, as they say.... Busi Mhlongo - UrbanZulu, or the new U2.
louisa 2005/01/31 11:49 AM
flat stanley They're a bit average. Music is always a matter of opinion, though. Ever seen that T-Shirt on the Onion that says YOUR FAVOURITE BAND SUCKS? Well I think that is one of the most offensive shirts of all time. By the way, JJ, objectivism isn't the same thing as Objectivity, which is perhaps what you meant? Ha ha.
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